Technology implementation in delivery of healthcare to older people: how can the least voice in society be heard?
van Zaalen, Yvonne
Requena, Maria del Carmen
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Abstract Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to focus on ethical and judicial themes related to technology and the older adults. Design/methodology/approach – Different consecutive phases in technology design and allocation will be discussed from a range of perspectives. Findings – Longevity is one of the greatest achievements of contemporary science and a result of development of social relations. Currently, various non-communicable diseases affect older adults and impose the greatest burden on global health. There is a great emphasis across Europe on caring for the older person in their own homes. Technology has a mediating role in determining the possibilities for good quality of life (QOL). The concept of assisting the older adult through the use of technology so as to access healthcare services has enormous potential. Although the potential of technology in healthcare is widely recognised, technology use can have its downsides. Professionals need to be aware of the risks, namely, those related to the privacy of the older person, which may accompany technology use. Research limitations/implications – By 2050, there will be more people aged over 65 than there are children. This phenomenon of global ageing constitutes a massive challenge in the area of health protection. Practical implications – Professionals need to be aware of the risks, for example, related to the privacy of the older person, that may accompany technology use. Social implications – There is a great emphasis across Europe on caring for the older person in their own homes. Technology has a mediating role in determining the possibilities for QOL. Originality/value – The concept of assisting the older adult through the use of technology to avail of healthcare has enormous potential. Assistive technology, social media use and augmentative and alternative communication can have a positive effect on the QOL of older people, as long as they are supported enough in use of these technologies. However, ethical and juridical considerations are at stake as well.
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